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Over the past decade, the world has seen the emanation of a lot of novel diseases that became catastrophic over time. Investigations are underway from various angles to find out the sources of these diseases because it is very difficult to find a solution to them if you don't know their source. Over the past years, different forms of diseases affected different parts of the world in different forms ranging from H1N1, Ebola, and to more recent ones COVID19. These are those that are fresh on people's minds due to their novelty.

Aside those mentioned, the world has been battling with some other disease that seems to chronic for year's,  these include HIV AIDS, malaria, cholera, cardiac problems, diabetes, the list goes on and on.

What are the causes, preventive measures, and more importantly how is the information concerning these concepts communicated to the layman? How does the scientist communicate the terminologies to us for our understanding? Do we understand the terms related to diseases and how to control them? Here are a few terminologies to aid our understanding. What do the scientists mean when they say a disease is zoonotic, pandemic, infectious, pathogenic, chronic, etc?‌‌ Let us explain these terms.


DISEASE is a term used to define any disorder which tends to interfere with the normal functioning of the body. The presence of any disease in a living organism is identified through symptoms such as high temperature, cough, loss of weight, sugar in the urine, blood in urine, and general body weakness are just but a few.‌‌ These are not the real diseases they are the sign through which disease is identified. Diseases unfold because they have something that causes them. The causative agent of disease cuts across a wide rand of microbes, behavioural character, genetic mutations, and nutrient deficiency. Some of these agents that cause disease are preventable, others too there is nothing we can do about them.


Different terminologies are used to define diseases and their related issues. It is very important to understand these terms very well for you know the nature of the disease and what to do to protect yourself.‌‌ Terms such as a pandemic, zoonotic and pathogenic are terms that accompanied COVID19. What do they mean?‌‌ When the scientists say COVID19 is PANDEMIC it means the virus has spread and affected a lot of people in many different countries within a short period. It started in China and in a matter of months, it was all over the world. It is also said to be ZOONOTIC meaning that it can be transferred from animals to human beings. This is why they said it started from an animal market in Wuhan. COVID is PATHOGENIC because it is caused by microorganisms. Something we can't see with our naked eyes. COVID is caused by a virus, that is transmitted through body fluid.‌‌

Based on the mode of transfer we group diseases into two major categories. Some can be transferred from an infected person to a non-infected person. These type of the disease are called INFECTIOUS diseases, these diseases are mostly caused by bacteria and viruses which are easily carried by air, water, and other organisms known as disease VECTORS. Those diseases that are not transmitted through vectors or contact with an infected person are called NON-INFECTIOUS DISEASES. Vectors are not the causative organisms for these diseases, they carry causative organisms from an infected person to a healthy person. On the other hand, diseases that can't be transferred from an infected person to a healthy person are called NON INFECTIOUS diseases.


Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and psychological well-being of an organism not merely with the absence sent of infirmities. That a person is not weak or is not on a sickbed does not mean he or she is healthy. There is more to health than sickness.


Microbes in the short form of microorganisms. Microbes are microscopic living things that can not be seen with naked eyes unless by the help of powerful microscopes.

There are different types of microbes. The most common ones are viruses, bacteria, and protists. All the above diseases caused by viruses are difficult to handle because scientists do not fully understand their nature. Aside from their bad sides, some microbes are of great importance to man. Their importance is mostly seen in fermentation and bioremediation.


Some of the diseases caused by pathogens are diseases that have already exist in the past but reappear in another form, some are also novel. For the new one, no or little knowledge is known of them. Scientists are still researching to fully understand the nature of the causative agent, mode of transition, and its treatment. Before scientist gets to find a remedy for it, there is an all-around solution to most diseases called HYGIENE.

In short, hygiene is the process of maintaining and ensuring cleanliness in all spheres of human life. Good hygiene practices ensure that you and your environment are clean and free of any disease cause microbes.

Some hygiene practices include; Bathing regularly, at least twice every day to free yourself from a microorganism that is settling on the surface of the skin can easily into the body to cause disease when they enter your body.

Sweeping our room and surrounding regularly. Everybody leaves in an environment and inside the environment, we have water, trees, animals, and other components. We as humans, interact with all the above elements, so when our surroundings are not well swept and cleaned we end up contaminating ourselves unknowingly. Sweeping our room and surroundings will ensure that we don't get into contact with microbes in the environment.

Breathing our teeth. This should be done at least twice daily, first thing in the morning and last thing before bed. This removes all possible microbes from your mouth and leaves your mouth smelling good.

Proper waste disposal. Is one thing sweeping the environment and another thing properly disposing of the refuse? If refuse is not properly disposed of, microbes find their way back to the environment through domestic animals and flies. Refuse containers must be properly covered to prevent flies and other animals from having access to them.


Pathogenesis is the science that studies how disease occurs through pathogens. Scientists in this field proposed a theory about the conditions that have to be present for diseases to occur. For a disease to occur there should be three basic and constant condition which should be present at the same time for a disease to occur. These are 1. Presences of a virulent pathogen(diseases causing organism) 2. Presence of an enabling environment 3. Presence of a susceptible host. If all these three are not present at the same time there is no way a disease can strive. To be able to prevent a disease from occurring one has to prevent any of the three from occurring. We can prevent diseases by practising good hygiene protocols, keeping our bodies and surroundings free from pathogens and dirt. When we do these pathogens don't get the enabling environment to grow and reproduce.


Our environment is full of pathogens or microbes that are in constant motion, they settle on all forms of surfaces. Pathogens are all mutable and become virulent over time. There is a need to practice preventive health care rather than waiting till the disease erupts before trying to find a solution. The only means to do this are through personal hygiene and environmental hygiene.


  1. Microbial interactions: ecology in a molecular perspective. Retrieved from


Dzamefe Francis is a native of Peki Tsame and a resident of Adidome. I am a past student and contestant of NSMQ for SMASCO and currently a level 200 student at UDS offering BIOTECH